Bench warrant issues for Luke Kelly statue criminal damage accused

by Gazette Reporter
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By Sonya McLean and Fiona Ferguson

A bench warrant has been issued for a man who threw blue paint on a Luke Kelly statue, causing €240 worth of damage.

Michael Dunne (50) failed to appear last Friday for sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The court had previously heard he was living in homeless accommodation.

Dunne had pleaded guilty to criminal damage on July 12, 2020. He has 51 previous convictions dating back to 1986, which included five convictions for criminal damage. 

Judge Orla Crowe, who had adjourned the case on the last date to allow for the preparation of various reports, issued a bench warrant after hearing that Dunne, was not present and his lawyers had not been successful in efforts to contact him.

At a hearing in June, Garda David Kelly told John Moher BL, prosecuting, that he discovered the damage to the memorial statue and harvested nearby CCTV footage, which led to the identification of Dunne.

He was arrested, but nothing of value came from those garda interviews.

Gda Kelly agreed with Katherine McGillicuddy BL, defending, that her client offered his sincere apologies for the damage he caused.

He accepted that Dunne was a long-standing drug addict and it had not been his idea to damage the statue.

He accepted a suggestion from Ms McGillicuddy that her client was vulnerable and agreed to do this without asking any questions.  It was further accepted that Dunne got drugs as a reward for throwing the paint.

Ms McGillicuddy acknowledged that the statue was very important in the local community and that Luke Kelly is an iconic figure.

She said her client felt that his actions had caused “a lot of upset”. His sister is heavily involved in the local community and was embarrassed and ashamed when she learned of her brother’s behaviour.

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